Once, not so very long ago, the concept of a cyberattack would have sounded like science fiction. Today it’s a term that can cause fear and consternation among businesses and individuals alike. A cyberattack can take a variety of forms, but the goal remains largely the same. It is obtaining the valuable and private information of businesses and individuals for exploitation and sale. Everyone, from the place you bank to the place you receive dental care, has to be concerned about the security of their information and yours.
The Nature Of Cyberattacks and Their Prevention
Cybercriminals are those who use a variety of methods to obtain the confidential information of their targets through digital means. The most common form of attack that will come to mind is probably a virus or piece of dangerous software. While these are common, they aren’t the most common form of attack. Instead, the most frequently used method for obtaining information is email. While viruses and malignant software can be transmitted through email, deception is a far more common and often effective tool. Cybercriminals generate thousands, if not millions, of pieces of email every day using specialized software known as bots. These emails are used to:
- Deliver Ransomware: While the specifics may vary, the purpose of this software is to get you to call a phone number and pay a fee to unlock your computer. Until you do, you’ll find yourself locked behind a screen warning you that your computer has been attacked and you should call this number for “help.”
- Go Phishing: A much more subtle scheme, these emails take the appearance of legitimate emails from other companies. In some cases, they’ll even have links that lead to websites designed to take on the appearance of another website. The purpose? To get you to type in your sensitive information while trying to log in to their website.
Phishing and ransomware continue to be popular and effective methods of launching cyberattacks. Thousands of people every year fall victim to these attacks. The damage caused by these kinds of attacks is nothing less than staggering. In 2021 alone, there was in excess of $20 billion dollars in damage from these malicious cybercriminals. Dental and medical practices are popular targets of these villains due to the immense amount of sensitive information they store.
Thankfully numerous techniques are used by professionals at your providers to defend against these attacks. They use systems that are robust and resistant against this kind of invasion. Any company these providers do business with is verified against public records. The systems themselves are subject to numerous security checks to ensure your information is safe.
How to Protect Yourself
It’s essential to understand how these attacks work so that you can protect yourself. Be careful when responding to emails you don’t recognize. If you aren’t familiar with the sender’s address, don’t provide any sensitive information (You shouldn’t do this over email anyway). If you are the recipient of an odd email from a seemingly familiar company, check the sender’s address to ensure it isn’t pretending to be legitimate. If you aren’t sure, call the company it says it’s from. They’ll help you ensure it’s authentic.